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    HomeAgro-BusinessEngage Private Sector Investment to boost wheat production, WFAN tells FG

    Engage Private Sector Investment to boost wheat production, WFAN tells FG

    The national body of the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) has called on the federal government to engage private sectors to invest in wheat production as that is the only way out to achieve a robust and sustainable production of the crops in Nigeria.

    National president of WFAN, Alhaji Musa Shehu disclosed this, saying that the decision is necessary as it is clear that government can’t effectively handle the current situation.

    Read Also: Support genuine, not political farmers, Association tells FG

    According to him, with the huge demand on wheat and the less attention given to its cultivation by authorities, it is eminent that the production sector is in dire need of private sector intervention.

    Shehu lamented that the recently concluded federal government’s National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-pocket (NAGs-AP) in five states—Niger, Sokoto, Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa—specifically meant for wheat farmers in an attempt to revive the agricultural sector by extending a form of subsidy that would assist smallholder farmers to produce more and with ease – was conceived and executed without the involvement of the association; hence the hitches recorded.

    Large Wheat Production

    He further said it was unfortunate that the aim of the programme was defeated as the distribution process was marred by politics, and real farmers had not been fully involved.

    He also revealed that following their formal complaint to the authorities, an attempt was made to tackle the abnormalities by issuing 70,000kg of seeds, which the association distributed to 22 wheat-producing states across the country, which he said was insufficient to meet the demand of the farmers.

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    He further said that with the way things are going, it was uncertain if Nigeria could meet up with last year’s wheat production label.

    “The only way out for a sustainable wheat production in Nigeria is when the private sector finds it appropriate to invest. As I said earlier, there is too much on government’s shoulders; therefore, it cannot sustain agricultural funding,” he said.

    Findings have shown that for ages, wheat production in Nigeria has become almost impossible due to issues surrounding access to quality seeds, fertiliser, as well as issues related to climate change. However, despite all the odds, Nigerian wheat farmers have not relented in their efforts to produce, no matter the quantity, to supplement huge importation to carter for massive demand in the country.

    It is apparent that wheat farmers in the country have been agitating for support over the years, especially on seed production; but unfortunately, the Lake Chad Research Institute that has the country’s mandate on wheat has not issued seeds to farmers for over four years.

    Farmers lament, demand better seed, interventions

    A wheat farmer in Kano State, Abubakar Salihu, lamented that production was facing a serious setback as farmers were left to face all the challenges with little or no government’s intervention despite the growing demand for the commodity in the country.

    He explained that since the Plateau incident after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lake Chad Research Institute stopped giving certified seeds to farmers, a move he described as detrimental to wheat production in the country.

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    “Some years ago, every wheat farmer usually waited for Lake Chad to issue seeds because as an institute with wheat mandate in the country, farmers had confidence in the institute’s interventions. Sadly, since the Plateau incident, the intervention stopped completely, at least for Kano farmers. And that has negatively affected production seriously,” he said.

    Wheat Farmers

    Similarly, another wheat farmer in the state, Abdullahi Sani, said farming was relegated to the lowest level despite the growing need to give more attention to it to boost production locally.

    He explained that the current deficit in wheat demand and supply value chain in the country had been felt by every Nigerian. He said the Ukraine-Russia crisis should have served as a catalyst that would have pushed the country towards taking measures that would boost wheat production in the country.

    It was also gathered that Nigeria imports about $2billion worth of wheat annually despite having all it takes to be self-sufficient.

    A farmer said they had been left on the mercies of few millers and seed companies, as those who cannot get obtain seeds usually don’t do well.

    Another wheat farmer in Kano also said Nigerian wheat production ought to have taken the global practice pattern to be sustained. He said the pattern was that of private sector investment with little government’s support, adding that only then would wheat production in Nigeria be adequate and sustainable.

    Daily Trust.

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